1_14_09 - Classics 222 Notes for 1/14/09 Sign-up sheets for...

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Classics 222 Notes for 1/14/09 Sign-up sheets for the paper due dates of February 11 and 27 and April 15 were made available before and after class today. They will be made available again after class on Friday. A parting note on the miracle of 750 BCE, how the first thing in Greek literature after the rediscovery of writing is a 15000 line epic poem, the Iliad. About 70 years ago, Perry showed how Homer's poems could come so soon after the rediscovery of writing. He traveled to Serbia and found villages of people who were not literate. Still had great epic stories and songs- recorded them and came back with 12000 line poem. Surmised that in cultures where there isn't writing they have a series of techniques to allow them to tell a very long story while strumming a lyre. Eventually these things get written down although no one knows how. The resulting product is not history, since it has sedimentary layers of narrative from different points through the centuries as the story has been retold. 750-500 Archaic Period From this period, we have the first Lyric Poetry that is preserved from Greece, as well as Hesiod's description of the cosmogony in his Theogony , and his work about farming and justice, the Works and Days . Radical political occurrences Ca. 700 rise of the polis (plural poleis) "city" or "city state" If you don't get the idea of a polis, you won't get classical Greece. You are who you are only because you are a citizen of a polis One example of what this means: Greece and Rome are both based economically on slave labor. Unlike the American South in this, they have no qualms about enslaving fellow Greeks. This is so because they don't believe that "All people are created equal." Instead, the polis defined who you were- Aristotle, the 4th century philosopher, says it is human nature to live in a polis- a person who is satisfied without a polis is either a beast or a god. Nation and polis are very roughly the same thing. There is no country of Greece- only individual city states. Still, there is ethnic identity. We are Greeks because we have common customs and festivals and same language. Greeks may be comfortable having other Greeks as slaves, but they still draw a bright ethnocentric line of Greeks on the one hand, everyone else on the other. They will unite against people who aren't Greek
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1_14_09 - Classics 222 Notes for 1/14/09 Sign-up sheets for...

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